So I threw a dinner party and love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control all came. Although the room was packed (there were only just enough seats for everyone) we were all having a great time. The guests were all mixing well, joy was keeping us entertained, kindness made sure everyone was okay and had what they needed and self-control was encouraging people not to over eat.
The party was in full swing when there was a knock at the door. All the guests that had been invited had come and so couldn’t imagine who it could be.
I opened the door saw anger and he was asking to come in. I began telling him he wasn’t invited but then he reminded me of the thing that had happened earlier that day. I had been so angry with my colleague and although they deserved plenty of anger I managed to let it go. As I replayed what had happened in my mind I began to wonder if I was too soft letting go of my anger so easily. Perhaps a little bit of anger would be okay and so I let him in but then I realized that I had a problem, there were not enough seats. If I wanted anger to stay then I would have to ask someone to leave. Things looked a little awkward between kindness and anger and so I asked kindness to leave.
The party carried on but things felt strained and anger was acting in a weird way. Everyone was talking and mixing well but he kept trying to dominate the conversation and to remind me that I deserved to be angry, after all I had been wronged. He was even suggesting ways that I could retaliate, love was reminding me to forgive but anger kept shouting.
The party didn’t feel like much fun anymore and then there was a knock at the door. Jealousy was there and she wanted to come in. She pointed at the neighbours houses and the possessions they have and whispered ‘why don’t you have those things, you deserve them’. I had to agree that I ought to have more stuff, after all I’m a good guy who is good, loving and kind. You’re right I said as I invited jealousy in, but then I remembered my problem, not enough seats. Who could I ask to leave? I thought for a moment about anger, after all he had been pretty disruptive but then he began shouting something new. ‘YOUR NEIGHBOURS HAVE SO MUCH, IT IS NOT FAIR, YOU NEED TO BE ANGRY ABOUT THIS’. As I was thinking about all the stuff I didn’t have I did begin to feel angry. Patience began to explain why I didn’t need everything now but anger started shouting again. A short while later I asked patience to leave.
The story could go on, but I hope you get the point. Who do we want in our lives? What do we want controlling us?
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. (Galatians 5)
Will we side with what is good or what is negative? Asking God’s presence to fill, influence and lead us is essential. Destroying what is negative is also an important step. Galatians 5 finishes with these words.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
How will we live? Who are we inviting in to our lives and who are we asking to leave?
Source: The story of the dinner party is inspired by a vision/dream that a friend of mine heard someone speaking about in a church service. I have tried to find out the name of that person to credit them but have been unable to, but actually all the credit should go to God for the creative way that he communicates with us.
Would you like to have a go finishing or rewriting the story? I would love to read it if you do.